I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday’s post from The Atlantic about the “ethical implications” of sharing too much about children on the Internet.
I don’t really consider myself a mommy blogger, though I do blog about Noah quite a bit. This mostly started as a way to keep long-distance family members up to date about him. But I also enjoy writing, cooking, making a little extra money through sponsored posts and a number of other things, so my topics tend to meander a bit. I have maybe a handful of people who really read regularly, mostly Facebook friends and a few people I’ve met through social media and by visiting their blogs, so I’ve never really concerned myself too much over using real names for myself and family members.
At the same time, there are things I try not to share: fully nude photos of Noah, overly embarrassing stories that might come back to haunt Noah in his teenager years, fights Bobby and I have, details about Bobby’s and my sex life, etc. I know Bobby would have a problem with me posting certain details about our personal lives, but I can only imagine how Noah would feel about it, because he’s not old enough to know the difference.
The Atlantic article suggests that you refrain from sharing something you wouldn’t share about someone else’s child. I think a standard for me would be not to share something I wouldn’t want Noah to share about himself or that I wouldn’t want shared about myself. The article also points out that there is such pressure in the mommy blogging community to write something that will go viral or that will result in glowing praise from other parents. And I’ve felt that, in the past. I still feel it sometimes.
I don’t read near as many blogs as I used to, but I’ve seen some people who really put a lot of thought into what they are sharing about their children (Young House Love comes to mind) and others who have absolutely no respect for their children’s or spouse’s privacy whatsoever (not naming names, but there definitely are a few that come to mind immediately). There are some that even go so far as to chronicle the “badness” of their child (usually to highlight what a wonderful mother puts up with such a hellion), detail specifics from childhood therapy sessions or share 100% nude frontal photos of their children.
Unfortunately, with all the laws protecting children from bad things that can happen, there aren’t any (as far as I know) that protect them from their own parents’ oversharing ways. And these things may not just be problems for these children in the future; there are some seriously scary people on the Internet. You can’t protect your child from everything, but use some common sense.
And that’s ultimately what I shoot for — common sense. In the end, my need for validation, praise and recognition (or, let’s face it, fame) absolutely cannot outweigh my desire to protect my child and my marriage. Internet fame is short-lived but family is sacred.